Saturday, December 07, 2013

Gary Barlow day is ruined

The BBC - presumably sensing it was sailing towards a rerun of the U2 at the BBC disaster - has suddenly got cold feet over Gary Barlow Day.

The day's original plans have been scaled back. These included numerous appearances across Radio 2, along with Gary's face being superimposed on BBC One's swimming hippos; a special edition of Bake Off where contestants had to create cakes shaped like Gary Barlow; Gary dancing in the background of the News At Six; the entire BBC website having every word changed to GARY for ten minutes; Gary doing the travel for BBC Lincolnshire and Barlow running up and down the stairs at New Broadcasting House wearing the skin of Lord Reith.

Now, showing some restraint, the day will instead consist of Jason Orange doing Ken Bruce's popmaster with one question having the answer "Gary Barlow".

When is a Mandela joke not a Mandela joke? Stop asking and just say you're sorry

Simon Amstell was on Radio One yesterday morning, and made a joke at the network's expense:

Amstell said: "What is going on? We're next to 1Xtra, it's so white in here. Mandela would not approve of the situation at the BBC."

When Nick Grimshaw asked why, the guest replied: "Look at all these people in here." Grimshaw answered: "There's a lot of people."

The comedian then said: "Yeah, but look at the segregation that's happened."

He then laughed when the producer of the Breakfast Show, Matt Fincham, said: "I don't think that's the right thing to be saying right now."

Amstell added: "Well, someone had to say it. Mandela would say it if he was here."
Apparently, this silly joke about how the BBC created a station for black music was offensive, somehow, so Amstell has been made to apologise:
"It may have been unclear this morning, as things often are but what came out of this mouth today was silly. Apologies to everyone involved."

Friday, December 06, 2013

Twittergem: Charlotte Church

From Charlotte Church last night, following the news of the death of Nelson Mandela, came a perfect retweet followed by a perfect tweet:

Listen with No Rock: Warpaint

Warpaint are sharing out a free track from the new album. And it's a Biggy. As in that's what it's called, and also how large it is:

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Matt Goss hopes sounding kinda stalkery will help the comeback

With that much-promised Bros reunion still very much an unwanted puppy left in the window of a pet shop on Christmas Eve, Matt Goss is trying to keep things moving by sharing a tale about the time his life briefly intersected with that of someone famous:

He told BANG Showbiz: "We had a lunch with her back in the day and it was an extraordinary experience.

"You had a sense that she knew she had a beautiful presence. When you looked into her blue eyes it was very hard not to blush.

"She had that intensity that a woman should have.

"I'm a hopeless romantic, I was flirting with her, of course I was, I tried my best. I like grace and femininity in a woman."
Where do you even begin? If Diana had flirted with you, that might be an anecdote. "I flirted with someone at a dinner thirty years ago" just sounds a bit creepy. Especially when you say you "tried [your] best", like you were attempting to win a goldfish in a fairground.

But I wouldn't worry about coming across a bit creepy, Matt, as the "intensity a woman should have" and "I like grace and femininity" stuff is more than quease-making enough in its own right.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Spotify simultaneously incredibly generous, unbelievably mean

Brilliant news, everybody: Spotify are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into rights' holders pockets:

According to Spotify, its new site is designed to provide additional insight into its operation through the use of data and business analysis. As part of that, Spotify said on Monday that it has issued $1 billion in royalties since its inception in 2009. At this time last year, its total royalty payout was at $500 million, meaning during 2013 alone, Spotify has coughed up $500 million in royalties.

On its new Web site, Spotify also tries to make the case that it's exceedingly generous with artists. The company claims to pay nearly 70 percent of its revenue in royalties, adding that "we believe that this is the fair approach to take."
That's excellent, right? Especially since a lot of that cash would never have been handed over in the past, as people would have been simply sucking the tunes off the internet.

I'll go and make dip. We'll have dip and pie to celebrate, right?

Hang on... you look quite glum, Music Week:
As part of a new site specificially built for artists, the company reveals that it has recently paid out an average of $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream to rightsholders.

That figure is presumably a mix of streams on its premium service (thought to be around $0.01 per stream) and its ad-supported free service.
Maybe no pie, then.

Of course, much of this money will, anyone, end up in the key-locking cashbox of labels rather than going towards artist's desire to purchase food and soap.

Spotify reckons that its royalties are roughly double those of YouTube, and more than treble those of Pandora, on a like-for-like basis; it also suggests that a "niche indie album" could earn about three thousand dollars a year. This obviously raises a question of what they consider a niche indie album to be - to me, that sounds like something in the area of a death metal band covering Trembling Blue Stars, but I suspect they could be thinking of something a bit more Primitives-sized.

It's not terrible money, but you really wouldn't be giving up the day job on this alone.

Reggaeobit: Junior Murvin

Junior Murvin, the reggae singer whose Police And Thieves, about Jamaican turf wars, became a soundtrack when the policing at the 1976 Notting Hill Carnival led to a riot, has died.

Murvin's first attempt at music didn't quite work out - a rastaman called Mr Sunny advised him to attend an audition, but his mother, unimpressed by the enthusiasm of Derrick Morgan, Roland Alphonso and Desmond Dekker, called him back home. Luckily, opportunity knocked again, and Murvin started back-up singing - first for Sonia Pottinger, and then for Derrick Harriot.

A return to his birthplace saw him join the band Young Experience, but their lack of a van scuppered them. Three weeks after the split, though, Murvin wrote Police And Thieves - an impressed Lee Perry played the track to an even more impressed Chris Blackwell; a release on Island later, and Murvin had an international hit.

Talking to UnitedReggae last year, Murvin talked about Police And Thieves being covered by The Clash:

I wouldn't even say Police and Thieves is a song. I would say it has moved from a song to a proverb. A proverb is greater than a song, I would put it that way. Music doesn't carry a grievance to nobody. It's just in the lyrical content. Music only talks to you when you play it. Music can't say "hey no play me"". Music can't do that! So as long as the man them sing the conscious things we can uplift the nation with it. But if you deal with violence, violent and downgrading lyrics that call the woman "Gyal" and that sort of thing there "Gyal yuh underwear" and "siddung pon it" I have no business with it.
Murvin was 64. He died from complications from diabetes on Monday 2nd December.

His UnitedReggae interview ended on what sounds a bit like a epitaph:
Tell my fans I wish the best for them and love them and I will always sing until my eyes are closed.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Robbie Williams: I am the 49%

And while we're going through the pile marked "people saying stupid things about homosexuality", it would be wrong to let any more time slide by without recording Robbie Williams' contribution to sexuality studies:

In an interview with the Daily Star, he said: "I love musical theatre and a lot of the other things that are often associated with gays. I am 49% homosexual and sometimes as far as 50%.
I know what you're wondering: How come Williams doesn't score any higher?
However, that would imply that I enjoy having a particular sort of fun, which I don't.
I believe some straight people have expressed surprise at this discovery that the final exam before you get your gay certification works like this, but it's true. Growing up, we've all, surely, had to comfort someone who had put in the hours rimming, cruising, fisting and bitching but failed to get a pass mark because they did poorly on the Rogers And Hammerstein paper. "Sorry, Tom, you know the rules - you might have aced the practical, but if you can't remember the order of the Favourite Things, you're not gay-worthy."

Robbie: Being gay isn't about "liking musical theatre". God only knows what you've got on your list of of "other things associated with the gays" are, but I don't think it matters. Like rimming, cruising, fisting and bitching, those activities like musical theatre and those other things in your mind? They're things that some gay people might do - equally, they're things that some straight people do. Bisexuals do them, too. And pansexuals. But they don't define your sexual orientation.

James Arthur makes watery prime-time sort-of apology

So how would ITV square inviting unacceptable rapper James Arthur onto the channel after sacking unacceptable rapper Chris Fountain?

By getting Arthur to mumble something which sounded like it might have been an apology. DigitalSpy was watching:

Speaking to Dermot O'Leary on tonight's show, he said: "It's been an amazing year for me. There's been incredible highs paired with some terrible lows. I've made a few very silly mistakes.

"I just want to thank all the people who are still supporting me and especially The X Factor for giving me the opportunity to do my dream job.

"Above all, I'd like to say sorry for abusing my position as an X Factor winner, because I owe everything to this thing."
First of all: "abusing my position as an X Factor winner" - that's not even a thing, James. It's not like you're the chair of the Co-Op Bank, or Cabinet Secretary. Nobody thinks your homophobia would be okay if you'd not made it through to Boot Camp.

Secondly: Even if it was a thing, that's not what you should be apologising for, and not who you should be apologising to.

No indication that he understands why what he did was terrible; no suggestion that he shouldn't have said those things. ITV have managed to make things worse.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Soukousobit: Tabu Ley Rochereau

Soukous pioneer Tabu Ley Rochereau has died.

During the period of Mobutu Sese Seko regime, Tabu Ley spent years living in exile - including a spell in Southern California - before returning home in 1997.

He'd first became famous after singing on Indépendance Cha Cha, which celebrated Congolese independence from Belguim:

He stayed with Africa Jazz for a few years, before founding first African Fiesta National and then Orchestre Afrisa International. En route, he helped establish the careers of Papa Wemba, Sam Mangwana, Faya Tess and M'bilia Bel. The latter would also become his wife.

As well as pretty much creating soukous, the Congolese musician also had a political career - he eventually became vice-governor of Kinshasha. He also, apparently, found time to father 68 children and write over 3,000 songs.

Tabu Ley suffered a stroke in 2008, from which he never recovered; he was receiving treatment for the after-effects when he died.

Here's just a couple of those 3,000 songs:

Miley Cyrus ruins anniversary; apparently shows how lovely she is

This piece from ContactMusic reeks of a press team rushing a story out to avoid the risk of someone else getting there first:

Miley Cyrus paid for a couple's meal after she disturbed them in a restaurant.
The 'Wrecking Ball' singer was reportedly noisy and caused a scene when she and a friend went into an upmarket eatery in New York, but after a couple complained, she immediately went over to apologise.

A witness explained to the National Enquirer: ''She went over and apologised and told the folks, 'I'm sorry, I've just had too much caffeine today.' Then she asked the couple about themselves.''

The pair were celebrating their second wedding anniversary, so generous Miley left $100 to cover their bill and posed for pictures with them.

Miley may be famous for her risqué outfits and twerking dance moves, but many people are surprised to find she is actually very down-to-earth and polite.
Yeah, because what could be more down-to-earth and polite than ruining someone's wedding anniversary, throwing money at the problem to make it go away and then leaking the story to the papers to show how great you are?

This week just gone

The most-read November stories:

1. Ian Watkins changes his plea to guilty
2. James Arthur returns to Twitter to defend his homophobic asshattery
3. Simon LeBon worries about filth being flung at pop kids
4. BPI, RIAA ignore licence terms on software
5. Video: Tori Amos - Jackie's Strength
6. Tony Hall has big plans for Radio One
7. Britney Spears has come to save music
8. James Arthur: It's not homophobic if you're talking to a straight guy
9. Buy an indie compilation; help the homeless; see a picture of Grant Shapps in a sleeping bag
10. JFK-related pop music special

This week's releases sound kinda interesting:

Shearwater - Fellow Travelers

Download Fellow Travelers

Brendan Benson - You Were Right

Download You Were Right

Darkside by Tom Stoppard

Download Darkside

Various - Love, Poetry and Revolution